MANNY Pacquiao's camp on Thursday played down the fallout from Nike's decision to sever ties with the boxing hero over his 'anti-gay' remarks, saying other major companies are sticking with the eight-division world champion.
Pacquiao's showbiz manager Arnold Vegafria told Spin.ph that their other major companies with endorsement deals or other links to Pacquiao are still 'very much with them,' with some even renewing contracts with the Sarangani congressman.
According to Vegafria, the country's most popular athlete is still the brand ambassador of East West Bank, Kia Motors, LBC, Rexona, Motolite, Datu Puti (vinegar), Pizza Hut, Ricoa, PLDT, Bench, Robust, Cafe Puro, Alaxan, Organo Gold, Sting Energy Drink and Chinese cellphone brand ZH&K.
“We are confident that all of them will stay. Wala namang masamang ginawa si Manny and if people think na mali yung sinabi niya, nag apologize naman na yung tao. He admitted na mali talaga yung choice of words na nagamit niya,” said Vegafria regarding Pacquiao's interview comparing gays to animals.
“Yung ZH&K nga kaka renew lang ng contract. Yung Bench, andyan pa ang Bench, wala namang reaction ang Bench. Yung Rexona, yung PLDT, andyan pa. Actually, nasa kabilang room nga si Manny ngayon signing pa other contracts including some papers for his campaign,” he added.
“Wala namang against (dun sa naging statement niya), wala namang tumatawag, even yung international brands, walang tumatawag (regarding plans to drop their contracts).
“Bottomline is, the Nike endorsement is already expired. Yung Nike sponsorship ng sports apparel that they supply him, 'yun lang ang nawala,” Vegafria added.
Vegafria also explained that Pacquiao's relationship with Nike has already been reduced to a sports apparel sponsorship since his original endorsement deal expired a few years ago.
“Wala nang money involved 'yung Nike nya since it expired. Nag-i-sponsor na lang sila ng damit at sapatos, that's apart from Nike sponsoring his fights,” he said.
The giant apparel brand's decision to cut ties with Pacquiao will even make it easier for the Filipino boxing icon to move on, said Vegafria.
Vegafria added Pacquiao didn't sign with other apparel brands at the end of his endorsement deal with Nike because of loyalty to his longtime partners.
“Like in the issue regarding the ire of the LBGT group, we have also moved on with Nike. Mainam nga sa kanila na nagmula kasi we can now find a new endorsement (deal),” Vegafria said.
The longtime showbiz talent manager also revealed how other sports brands have been trying to lure Pacquiao.
“Actually, madaming kumakausap sa amin na brands, since last year pa. Hindi lang namin pa pino-formalize kasi as you know, Manny values loyalty over money. Kaya kahit wala nang money involved sa Nike, he stayed with them,” Vegafria said while refusing to confirm nor deny talks with Under Armour, whose main endorser is Pacquiao's basketball idol and fellow Christian Steph Curry.
Asked if Pacquiao felt bad regarding the sudden pullout of Nike, Vegafria shook his head.
“Hindi naman sumama ang loob ni Manny, sabi nga nya kanina: He respects the decision of Nike. Matagal naman na ring tapos yung endorsement eh,” he said.
Vegafria, meanwhile, was non-commital when asked if Pacquiao will still use Nike shorts and shoes when he climbs the ring to face Timothy Bradley in their rubbermatch on April 9 (April 10, Manila time).
“Pwedeng isuot niya ulit yun, pwedeng mag suot siya ng iba. Pero we are trying our best to get a new apparel endorsement deal. But we are not in a hurry, mas priority kasi niya ngayon ang kanyang training for the fight,” he said.
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